We provide lectures, seminars, and workshops for both the general public and professional audiences. The workshops listed below are developed primarily for professional staff, such as curators, collections managers, archivists, librarians, or others who have primary responsibility for the care and handling of artifacts. We frequently customize these listings to suit institutions' needs.
Interested in starting a project? Email Education Program Manager & Preservation Consultant Stephenie Schwartz Bailey to get started.
Assessing Condition Issues in Book Collections
Identifying collection materials with condition issues is a key component to keeping collections safe, accessible, and in good condition; and knowing how to prioritize concerns determines how to best allocate resources. Through lecture and hands-on activities, this half-day workshop will help participants identify, understand, and prioritize condition issues. Topics for discussion include book structure, agents of deterioration, common degradation, and methods for assessing and prioritizing condition challenges
Book Cradles for Reading Rooms and Exhibitions
The repeated opening of rare and fragile books without supports can cause structural deterioration and textual loss. This half-day workshop will provide an overview of the types of book cradles for reading rooms and exhibit cases, with a focus on the most useful features of each. Following a hands-on demonstration showing construction of a simple, inexpensive custom book cradle, participants will have the opportunity to make their own.
Caring for Unusual Formats
Participants in this one-day workshop will learn the basics of caring for ephemera and three-dimensional and oversize paper items, from paper dolls and stamps to architectural drawings and oversized maps. Demonstrations and case studies will be used to demonstrate common preservation and handling issues with these unique materials. Simple storage solutions will also be discussed.
Constructing Tuxedo Boxes for Your Book Collection
Quality book enclosures serve a number of important functions, as they protect books from light, dust, and pests; buffer sensitive book materials against environmental changes that can cause distortion and shrinkage; and provide physical protection for fragile or damaged books. This hands-on workshop will discuss the types of books that benefit most from enclosure, and will provide step-by-step instructions for making inexpensive, custom-fit book boxes from alkaline card stock. Called tuxedo boxes due to their elegant fit, these enclosures are appropriate for small to medium-size books.
Creative Social Media for Collecting Institutions
Through social media, your institution can build audiences, share stories, promote events, and raise money. Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and crowdfunding platforms like Indiegogo and Kickstarter allow you to connect with new audiences in fresh and vital ways. This session will look at the wide range of emerging social media opportunities to position your institution and its collections in the 21st century.
Designing a Digital Imaging Project: Planning and Fundraising
In recent years, interest has been growing among funders for creative projects that increase accessibility of important collections through digitization. This educational program will examine some current funding opportunities for digital preservation projects, provide examples of projects that have received funding, and offer tips for designing a winning digital imaging project.
Disaster Response and Recovery: A Hands-on Intensive
Thoughtful preparation for an emergency or disaster is one of the most important steps that a cultural institution can take to safeguard collections. This day-long, hands-on program will increase practical knowledge through hands-on salvage of a simulated disaster. Participants will use the Incident Command System while learning to salvage a variety of materials, including paintings, wooden furniture, glass/metal/ceramic objects, textiles, paper, photographs, and books. Personal safety, initial site assessment, object triage and tracking, and post-disaster debriefing will also be addressed during the workshop. Strengthen connections between cultural institutions and regional emergency management agencies by working and learning together. Knowledge of basic salvage techniques and/or prior attendance in a collections-oriented emergency response workshop is encouraged.
Essential Policies and Procedures for Cultural Institutions
An institution’s collections care and business practices are defined by its written policies and procedures. Institutional memory is often lost through staff changes, but best practices are encoded in these important documents. This program will provide an overview of policy and planning documents that are essential for collections care, such as collections management policies, handling guidelines, and maintenance policies. Participants will learn the critical components of these documents and tangible examples of how to adapt them to different institutions will be given. Policy development, approval, and implementation responsibilities of staff, volunteer, and board will be discussed.
Fundamentals of Caring for Paper Collections Part I: Handling, Assessing Storage Needs, & Basic Care
This workshop will give an introduction to best practices in caring for any paper-based collection. Topics covered will include: handling guidelines, assessing storage materials and special needs items, prioritizing for treatment, and understanding preservation and conservation terminology. This program is appropriate for those looking to develop new skills, as well as for individuals wanting to increase their knowledge about best practices in the care of paper-based collections.
Fundamentals of Caring for Paper Collections Part II: Constructing Storage Enclosures
In this hands-on workshop, participants will learn how to make simple enclosures for paper artifacts including folders, boxes, and options for rolled storage. A selection of commercial storage materials will be reviewed along with the decision-making process for choosing the right enclosures for a variety of artifacts.
Fundraising for Preservation and Conservation
Through thoughtful planning and effective grant writing, your organization can be competitive in the race for public and private funding to preserve cultural collections. This workshop will highlight the aspects of the planning process that funders value most and the elements of a successful grant proposal. With examples drawn from success stories at museums, historic sites, libraries, and archives, program participants will gain an understanding of how to effectively develop and implement a funding strategy to raise money for their collections.
Handlin’ It: Techniques and Materials for Artifact Packing and Transport
This workshop will address the safe handling and soft packing of flat and three dimensional objects. Discussion will include how to prepare work areas, best practices for moving various types of artifacts, and identifying potential conservation concerns before handling. Participants will be introduced to materials useful for day-to-day art handling and get hands-on experience packing items for short-term transport.
Practical knowledge of preservation materials and housing design is necessary to protect collection items. This workshop will address concerns in creating safe and effective housings for the storage and display of paper art and artifacts. Topics will address the materials, use, and benefits of various types of housing, from simple folders and polyester sleeves to oversized rolled storage and framing. Participants will have the opportunity to create several simple enclosures.
Identification and Preservation of Prints
Collections often contain prints from various time periods, from fine art to more common ephemera. The preservation of prints must consider the intricacies of media, the qualities of paper supports, and the interaction between the two. This workshop will provide an overview of the history of printmaking and printmaking techniques. In hands-on sessions, participants will learn how to identify prints, recognize common condition problems, and properly handle and house print collections.
Identification of 19th- and 20th-Century Photographic Processes
This workshop is designed to help attendees identify the various photographic processes found in many collections. It will cover major photographic processes from the daguerreotype to the digital print, examining the layer structure, image material, and deterioration characteristics of each. Lectures and hands-on activities using an array of historic photographs from CCAHA’s study collection will provide participants with a better knowledge and understanding of photographic processes.
Introduction to Digitization
Digitization can be the final step in processing collections, facilitating access, and even aiding in collections’ long-term preservation. Like other collections care endeavors, digitization should not be undertaken without an understanding of best practices, safe techniques, and the knowledge to make the right decisions. This workshop will provide a basic overview of some of the considerations institutions should make when digitizing materials, including establishing policies, prioritization and selection criteria, equipment options, handling practices while scanning or photographing, storage concerns for digital media, and digital preservation. This primer on establishing a digitization program is intended for collections staff and volunteers with very little or no experience digitizing materials.
Matting and Framing for Preservation
This workshop will serve as an introduction to the materials and techniques necessary for creating safe and attractive housing and framing for works on paper. Participants will learn basic principles of framing and housing, and will gain a greater understanding of techniques, assembly methods, materials, and common mistakes. The session will have a hands-on component covering the construction of archival corners and edge supports, hinges, and sink mats for objects with depth.
Preservation Best Practices for Optimal Collections Care
Archivists, collections managers, librarians, curators, and other staff members involved in collections care must manage a variety of tasks, including implementation of collections management plans and policies, management of environmental control and storage conditions, and provision for safe use and exhibition of collections. This program will provide participants with an overview of the preservation standards for the many aspects of collections care.
Preserving Your Photographic Collections
Photographic media are sensitive materials that require special housing to ensure their longevity. This workshop will examine suitable housing supplies, including paper, plastics, interleaving papers, boxes, and more. Environmental parameters for storage, proper labeling techniques, and safe handling of photographs will also be discussed.
Protecting Collections: Disaster Prevention, Planning, and Response (Parts I and II)
Thoughtful preparation for an emergency or disaster is crucial to safeguarding collections. This two-part program will guide participants in risk mitigation, emergency planning and preparedness, response, and recovery. By the end of the second session, participants will develop and complete an emergency preparedness and response plan; learn how to train staff to implement the plan effectively; set pre-and post-disaster action priorities for collections; learn how to use practical decision-making skills during an emergency or disaster; and have information on salvaging a variety of materials, including books, documents, photos, and objects.
Red Flag! Identifying Preservation Needs While Processing Collections
Gaining intellectual control over collections is just one aspect of processing and cataloging. This workshop will focus on developing a system for identifying and prioritizing the collections care needs of items (objects, books, artworks, archival materials, etc.) during the accessioning, processing, and cataloging phases. Common degradation issues encountered in collections and methods for assessing condition will be discussed. This session will also present procedures for assigning conservation and housing priorities, and will suggest potential “red flags” to alert staff when a conservator should be consulted. Participants will have the opportunity to assess the condition of items in a study collection and assign conservation and housing priorities to each item using the procedures presented in the workshop.
Storage Boxes for Flat and 3-D Objects
This workshop will examine options for the safe storage of flat and three-dimensional artworks and historic artifacts. Participants will be introduced to general parameters for storage, safe handling, and proper labeling techniques. Following discussion of suitable housing supplies, participants will have the opportunity to make a flat storage folder and a storage box.
There’s a Fungus Among Us! Fighting Mold in Library and Archive Collections
Mold spores are always present, even in the cleanest of spaces. When too much moisture is present, due to a water leak or a poorly functioning HVAC system, mold outbreaks can occur. As it grows, mold attacks and weakens leather, cloth, and paper, and often causes permanent staining. Some molds also make people sick. How can collections staff stop mold from growing? And what should they do when they find it? This workshop will answer these questions by explaining the environmental factors that allow mold to grow. It will also discuss how to identify mold, how to protect people from health hazards associated with mold, and how to stop mold from spreading within a collection. Attendees will learn how to clean moldy books and papers, and when to call a conservator or a professional cleaning company.
Understanding Archives: An Introduction to Archival Basics
Proper archival procedures enable safe and effective management of collections, yet volunteers, historians, and those with archival responsibilities in addition to other duties may find themselves in the position of "archivist" without formal training in the profession. Topics covered during this workshop include the fundamentals of archival appraisal, acquisition, and access; proper storage materials; and the most common preservation problems found with paper-based archival collections. This workshop will touch briefly on processing, arrangement, and description.
Your Photograph Scrapbook: Identification and Preservation
The histories of books and photographs have intertwined since the invention of the first print process, the photogenic drawing. Photobooks tend to be either works of art or commercially published texts. Albums and scrapbooks are unique objects compiled by individuals to record their own history. The preservation best practices for all of these formats are dictated by the photographs they contain, the book structure, and the sometimes competing needs of the two. This workshop will cover the common structures, materials, and methods of attachment for the photographic prints in photobooks, albums, and scrapbooks; discuss how to evaluate and address condition issues; review storage, display, and environment; and cover the basics of reformatting and digitization. Examples of photobooks, albums, and scrapbooks from the 19th and 20th centuries will be available for examination and discussion.